National News

COVID updates and guidance

HSE has published a range of coronavirus-related guidance and information, which you may find useful.

It includes:

For all the latest information and advice visit their coronavirus pages.

Health Secretary warns of long-term effects of COVID-19 as new film released

Published 21st October

The Health Secretary is urging the public – and especially young people – to follow the rules and protect themselves and others from COVID-19, as new data and a new film released today reveal the potentially devastating long-term impact of the virus.

The symptoms of ‘long COVID’, including fatigue, protracted loss of taste or smell, respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and mental health problems, are described in a new film being released today as part of the wider national Hands, Face, Space campaign. The film calls on the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control the spread of the virus.

The emotive film features the stories of Jade, 22, Jade, 32, Tom, 32 and John, 48, who explain how their lives have been affected – weeks and months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. They discuss symptoms such as breathlessness when walking up the stairs, intermittent fevers and chest pain. The film aims to raise awareness of the long-term impact of COVID-19 as we learn more about the virus.

A new study today from King’s College London, using data from the COVID Symptom Study App and ZOE, shows one in 20 people with COVID-19 are likely to have symptoms for 8 weeks or more. The study suggests long COVID affects around 10% of 18 to 49 year olds who become unwell with COVID-19.

To read the rest of the press release go to the Government website

Coronavirus: children and young people’s wellbeing

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a report collating evidence from a range of government, academic, voluntary, and private sector organisations on the wellbeing in children and young people aged 5 to 24 in England over the period of March to August 2020.

Indicators covered in the report include: personal wellbeing; relationships; health; education and skills; personal finance; and activities.

You can read the report here

Charities have lost millions to fraud during the pandemic

From Civil Society

Fraudsters have stolen over £3.5m from charities during the pandemic, according to the Charity Commission. The regulator says it received 645 reports of fraud and cybercrime between March and September, including concerns about people setting up fake charities to attract donations and staff diverting charitable funds into their own bank accounts. The Charity Commission warned that the “true scale” of fraud is likely to be far higher as incidents are under-reported. The figures have been released at beginning of Charity Fraud Awareness Week, and the Charity Commission has published advice and resources to help trustees protect their organisations.

To read the full article go to Civil Society

Watchdog warns charities and the public to protect themselves against fraudsters amid pandemic

The Charity Commission is warning trustees and donors to strengthen their defences as it fears the pandemic has created environments that are enabling charity fraud.

As we enter Charity Fraud Awareness Week (19 – 23 October 2020), charities have reported being victims of fraud or cybercrime 645 times since the start of the pandemic in March, amounting to £3.6 million in total losses to charities. The true scale of fraud against charities is believed to be much higher, as fraud is known to be underreported.

The regulator is concerned that remote working and virtual activities and sign-off processes, combined with charities’ tendencies to place goodwill and trust in individuals, may make them especially vulnerable. It says that charities providing services and supporting local communities could be amongst those at risk after earlier reports of criminals using PPE as a lure in scams.

Analysis of frauds reported to the Commission has found that in some cases fraudsters have preyed on people’s fear and anxieties. In one case, the regulator saw a fraudster using a beneficiary’s story of personal struggle during the pandemic to pressure a charity into making a payment quickly. The regulator also considers that economic hardship may have increased perpetrators’ temptation to commit fraud, particularly in cases of insider fraud. It has seen cases of charity employees diverting funds into their personal bank accounts and even selling charity equipment for personal gain.

For more information go to the Government website

State of Care 2019/20

State of Care is the Care Quality Commission’s annual assessment of health care and social care in England.

The key points are

  • The care that people received in 2019/20 was mostly of good quality
  • However, while quality was largely maintained compared with the previous year, there was no improvement overall
  • Before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, we remained concerned about a number of issues:
    • the poorer quality of care that is harder to plan for
    • the need for care to be delivered in a more joined-up way
    • the continued fragility of adult social care provision
    • the struggles of the poorest services to make any improvement
    • significant gaps in access to good quality care, especially mental health care
    • persistent inequalities in some aspects of care

To read the report go to the CQC website

Royal College of Physicians uncovers years of discrimination against black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) doctors are consistently disadvantaged when applying for jobs, according to a report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The RCP analysed data from 8 years’ worth of annual surveys reporting on the experiences of, and outcomes for, clinicians within a year of completing their medical certificate of completion of training (CCT). The findings provide consistent evidence of trainees from BAME background being less successful at consultant interview.

In surveys from previous years, CCT holders who described themselves as being of white ethnicity appeared to apply for fewer posts but were more likely to be shortlisted and to be offered a post. This year’s survey results show that this is still the case, with respondents of white ethnicity (61%)  far more likely to be shortlisted for interview and offered a post despite applying for fewer posts than their BAME counterpart (mean 1.3 versus 2.0 for all other ethnic groups).

White respondents had a 98% chance of being shortlisted after their first application, compared with 91% of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) respondents. This gap widened even further when it came to the likelihood of being offered a post the first-time round: 29% of white respondents were offered a post after being shortlisted for the first time, compared with just 12% of BAME respondents.

For more information go to the RCP website

Rape prosecutors in England and Wales given new advice over dating apps

The growing exchange of naked selfies, misconceptions about the use of ‘hook up’ dating sites and discussion of why sexual assault victims may remain in contact with their attacker all form part of new draft guidance for prosecutors on rape myths and stereotypes published by the Crown Prosecution Service today.

The material is part of a wide-ranging revision of legal guidance for prosecutors on rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) which is being launched for public consultation. It is the first full refresh since 2012 and includes updated guidance on dealing with digital material, as well as reasonable lines of enquiry. The suggested changes aim to reflect the changing world, especially the growth of the digital technology and its impact on sexual behaviours and encounters.

To read the full press release go to the CPS website

You can read the guidance in full here

An intergenerational audit for the UK 2020

The coronavirus crisis has caused loss of life, threatened livelihoods, and upended daily life. It has also precipitated swift policy action from governments. Both the economic and health trajectories are fast-moving and uncertain. But even the most cursory of assessments makes clear that there are big age divides in how this crisis has been, and will be, experienced. This makes an intergenerational understanding of what’s going on essential, even as the situation, and the policy response to it, continue to develop. The resolution Foundation’s Intergenerational Audit for the UK – supported by the Nuffield Foundation – provides the first comprehensive assessment of the initial phase of the coronavirus crisis for different generations in Britain.

The key findings are:

  • Coronavirus has determined the impacts of the crisis on physical health and social interaction across cohorts, while the nature of the pre-pandemic economy has largely driven the impacts on living standards. This has manifested itself in profound physical health risks to older adults, and a very clear distinction between the economic experiences of pensioners and working-age families during the lockdown.
  • The labour market hit has been clearly U-shaped, affecting the youngest and oldest workers most. But policies to support incomes, including the JRS and boosts to benefits, mean that incomes fell most in lockdown for those in their late 40s.
  • Consumer debt usage has accelerated for 35-44-year-olds; falling equity prices have dented the wealth of those in their 50s; and there were no particularly clear age differences by age (within the working-age population) in the likelihood of falling behind with housing payments in mid-lockdown.
  • Post-lockdown impacts may be more clearly tilted towards the bottom of the age range. By July, younger adults had become the most likely to fall behind with housing payments; young people risk long-term employment and pay ‘scarring’ effects from starting careers in a downturn; the prospects for a post-coronavirus home ownership increase among aspirant buyers appear limited; and the removal of temporary welfare boosts looks set to provide a major drag on the incomes of young and childrearing-age adults.

You can read the report as an online pdf here

M&S brings back Shwopping in support of Oxfam

From UK Fundraising

Marks and Spencer has reopened Shwopping, its clothes recycling scheme in partnership with Oxfam. Paused in March as the coronavirus pandemic hit, Shwopping has been available in 287 M&S stores since 1 October.

Since it was launched in 2008 Shwopping has enabled customers to recycled 35 million clothing items, and raised nearly £23 million for Oxfam.

Taking advantage of a rise in wardrobe clear-outs during lockdown, M&S once again welcomes customers donating unwanted clothes, shoes, bras and accessories of any brand or condition. All clothing items that customers donate are:

  • sent to Oxfam to be resold in one of its shops or online
  • reused via its social enterprise in Senegal
  • or recycled into new materials, which are used by businesses such as M&S’s mattress filling.

In line with government guidelines, M&S is quarantining all donated items for 48 hours before sending them onto Oxfam.

To read the full article go to UK Fundraising